Harm Botje

Harm Botje, radio and newspaper journalist, spent twelve years in Cairo as the NRC Handelsblad correspondent. He described his trials and tribulations in the enthusiastically received In de ban van de Nijl (Under the Spell of the Nile, 1991). Two years later Botje published Het duivelshuis, a book about fundamentalist Algeria in the nineties.

The House of the Devils

The House of the Devils

(Prometheus, 1993, 230 pages)

‘This isn’t a political book, let alone a political analysis. It’s a book about normal, everyday Algerians and how they think about themselves and their country.’ This is the way Harm Botje starts his book of impressions and stories from Algeria. In the words of one his characters, Algeria is ‘the most beautiful country in the world’, but it’s in danger of becoming a hell: when Botje embarks on his journey through Algeria the authorities have just obstructed the Islamic Salvation Front’s election victory, the result is rioting and terrorist attacks. The discrepancies are large and young people have little hope.

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